A blog by runners. For runners.

More than a million cheer runners on

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Though they aren’t married yet, Tyler Lomnicki and Sunni Olding have completed one big milestone together. The couple ran the entire 36th Annual Chicago Marathon together.

Lomnicki, of Elmhurst, Ill. and Olding, of Minster, Ohio, ran together after she convinced him to enter the race.

During the race Lomnicki said there were a few moments when he wanted to give Olding a piece of his mind for talking him in to the marathon, but in the end the couple was happy to have done the entire race together.

“It was awesome,” Lomnicki (Bib D13523) said. “Security was good. The crowds were great. It was a great day.”

And, Olding (Bib B4593) said, “We are running together even before we get married.”

While Lomnicki and Olding shared the entire race. Other runners started the day at dawn parting ways with friends and family, sharing hugs and kisses prior to the race start.

Susan and Douglas Marocco of Rockford, Ill., spent some time together before heading to their individual corrals.

Douglas (Bib B5345) ran the Chicago Marathon before, but for Susan (Bib F26404), it was her first time running a major marathon.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Susan said pre-race. While Douglas said, “I am just nervous to hit the time I want.”

He was hoping for 3:25 to qualify for his age group in the Boston Marathon.

Charity run

Kristin Moroni, of Rock Island, Ill., was running with the group Oasis, which is a ministry based in Kenya. The organization is building an orphanage that will house 48 children in Kibera, Kenya. The group is raising $200,000 toward that goal.

“This is my first marathon and I’m just hoping to finish,” Moroni (Bib K49332) said before the race.

An international affair

Flags representing nations and the runners from around the globe could be found lining the course.

David Rodriguez, (Bib D12188) 26, of Costa Rica, was running in Chicago for the first time. His company, Abianca, offered him the opportunity as a present.

“I am very excited,” he said, adding, “I feel pretty good. I’m a little nervous, I suppose.”

His mother accompanied him to the race.

Friends and family support one another

Team Bad Asphalt, a group of ladies from Memphis, Tenn., Tampa, Fla., and Boston were ready to hit the pavement. The ladies said they were feeling awesome and were “super excited.”

Along the course we ran into Team Orange a few times, first at Mile 2 and then up on the north side of the city near Addison and Broadway. The team was supporting Margaret Keeffe, 23, of Lombard, Ill.  Keeffe started training in June and her family, including mom Dawn, were out in full support.

“We are so proud of her,” her mom said. “She worked so hard for this.”

The race kicked off promptly at 7:30 a.m. with the elite men leading the pack. Dennis Kimetto, 22, of Kenya, won the race in a course record time of 2:03:45. This was only his third marathon. He also won earlier this year in Japan. He came away with $175,000. Though he did not break the world record as was anticipated.

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On the women’s side, elite runner Rita Jeptoo, of Kenya, took the race in 2:19:57. Her PR before Sunday was 2:22:04.

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While the elite runners finished in a matter of hours, the remaining field of roughly 45,000 runners had support from more than 1 million fans lining the entire race route. The crowds eagerly cheered on the runners and there was a high energy level along the route.

On the Northside cheerleaders cheered, on the south side, in Pilsen, Mexican drummers drummed. Cowbells rattled, cheers were hollered and some creative signs waved in the air.

Estrella Velazquez, 18, of Chicago, made her way around the city to follow her boyfriend Pancho Barrera, 20, of Chicago, as he ran his first marathon. She saw him a few times through the race, including mile 19 in Pilsen.

“It’s really rewarding,” Velazquez said. “Last night I couldn’t sleep because of the excitement. I didn’t mind getting up early.”

Many thanks to Rebecca E. Eden Photography for the great photos and to Mary Ann on her debut as a roving reporter for WalkJogRun.   Which races would you like to see WalkJogRun write up?